English sisters Colette and Hannah Thurlow make up a powerful alternative rock duo. The fierce females perform under the moniker 2:54 – a nod to their favorite spot on a song by The Melvins. No doubt, these ladies have been sharing their inspiringly grungy and shoegazey music as they rigorously toured last year. They have yet to lose their stride. In fact, they kept the momentum going straight through SXSW this year. We were lucky enough to spend a little time with them behind the scenes at the SXSW Dr. Martens house to get the scoop on their album The Other, how they got this far and where they are going next.
mxdwn: So, you guys actually got your start putting your music online at first?
Colette: Well, as a band making music, sort of, but yeah..
Hannah: Yeah, we put a track up, and a few things started to kind of trigger from that.
mxdwn: How did you get from there to here?
Hannah: We wrote a song called “Creeping,” and that definitely ignited a fire. And we started to write even more and then to start to play shows, and we just developed as a band.
mxdwn: What drove you? Is this what you’ve always wanted to do?
Hannah: Yeah, I mean music is IT, really. It’s just the greatest journey.
Colette: Yeah, we played always in our teens, you know, growing up together. We had a punk band. You know, we’ve always been doing music, so it’s been a natural progression.
mxdwn: You’ve been compared to a lot of different genres and bands just because you do have a very eclectic sound which makes you pretty relevant in my book. We’re talking The Cure, Garbage, Curve. How do you guys feel about being compared to the likes of those bands?
How did you develop your sound?
Hannah: We’ve always been very inspired kind of just being around each other when we write the music. The songs very much just kind of come out.
Colette: And our inspirations growing up were like heavy guitars. So, things like anything from Deftones, Bad Brains, we loved… Nico, Patti Smith. Those were inspirations in terms of like singing. So, it’s wonderful that people hear things like The Cure/Curve/Garbage , but you know the things we actually grew up on were quite different. It’s all good. It’s lovely to be compared to bands of that stature, you know.
mxdwn: The new album “The Other” is getting a lot of recognition this year. What inspired the album?
Colette: It came about when we finished touring the first record, we had some time to just sort of stop, really. It was a really cathartic writing process, and it was just really about processing the years that had been before and just looking to the future and what was going to happen next in the terrain we found ourselves in.
mxdwn: What’s the songwriting process like for you guys?
Hannah: For this record, we very much kind of bunkered down together and just surrounded ourselves with our gear and just kind of had fun experimenting with sounds, different instruments. Sparks would happen, and it would just evolve. It was a really exciting to have the time to really delve into the songs and be very hands-on with the whole process.
mxdwn: That evolution (in the music making process) is really important. What’s your favorite part about it?
Hannah: Kind of the whole thing. I mean, when Colette and I make music together, we don’t need to say much to each other.
Colette: It’s very intuitive.
Hannah: Yeah, it’s intuitive. There’s nothing like the excitement of kind of finishing a song and…
Colette: …when you know it’s right. When you both know it’s right, and it’s unsaid, it’s the best feeling in the world. Then you finish that song and it’s a high. I don’t think you ever stop chasing that high of songwriting in that way.
mxdwn: How do you feel that sound translates into the live setting?
Colette: It’s been a joy to play this record live. It feels like we’ve been waiting so long to play it live, you know. Playing it here in America is a huge deal for us, and being in America is a huge deal. Songs take on a new life live. That’s what we’d hope, anyway. There should be a sense, I think, of transformation when you play an album live. When I think of the bands I love, I want to see some dynamic sort of changes. Yeah, it’s just been a joy.
mxdwn: What do you guys love and hate about tour life?
Colette: We love it all.
Hannah: We’ve had such a great tour. We’re coming to the end of a month-long run.
Colette: The best tour yet, no doubt. It is like a traveling family, our band. I think just in that kind of love and getting to play music every day, in this world, we can’t ask for more. It’s a privilege, no doubt.
mxdwn: Theoretically, who would you love to tour with?
Hannah: Yeah, that would be the one.
mxdwn: Ok, what about collaborating with on a record?
Colette: Bowie! (laughs) Or Trent Reznor, actually.
mxdwn: Ok, so you’re coming off a month-long run and you’ve got a new album out, but are you guys writing new music now in the process?
Hannah: Yeah, we’re definitely always writing. And we get to, when we get back, get crackin’.
Colette: I think it’s something as well about being on tour like this when you’re on the road in that way and you don’t have the time to sit down and write a song. It means that there’s this real excitement for getting back. There’s an urge to write and an urge to just get out. It’s really been brewing, I guess, over this period. So, I’m really excited to see what happens when we get back.
mxdwn: Where do you see yourselves in five years, other than recording with Trent Reznor, obviously?
Hannah: Hopefully on our fourth album. Definitely in that kind of territory.
Colette: I think very much about living in the present and enjoying everything for the day as it happens. Every day we get to do music is a great day.